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Thaksin Shinawatra’s Emotional Return to Chiang Mai: A Homage to Heritage and Political Resurgence

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Imagine a scene straight out of a movie, where a former prime minister returns to his homeland, greeted by a legion of supporters and high-profile officials. This was not just any ordinary day at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep; this was the day Thaksin Shinawatra, the ex-leader of Thailand, made his grand return. The air buzzed with excitement as Jatuporn Buruspat, Atthaphon Charoenchansa, Chiang Mai’s governor Nirat Pongsitthaworn, and other dignitaries formed a welcome committee of sorts. But it wasn’t just the top brass in attendance; a sea of red-shirt supporters also made their presence felt, their placards shouting loud and clear: “Unshakable love for you”.

The visit wasn’t merely ceremonial, as Thaksin was soon immersed in discussions about a major development project set to transform the Doi Suthep mountain area. His engagement and praise for the project heads, especially for the commendable efforts of Mr. Director-General, Atthaphon, highlighted his enduring interest in the nation’s progress. Thaksin, accompanied by his three children, then paid homage to Kruba Srivichai, the revered late Buddhist monk and patron saint of Lanna, marking a moment of profound respect and cultural significance.

The political realm was never far behind, with Thaksin’s youngest daughter, Paetongtarn, leading the ruling Pheu Thai Party, spotlighting the Shinawatra family’s ongoing influence in Thai politics. Thaksin’s journey back to Chiang Mai was a poignant one, marked by his first visit since his dramatic exit from power in 2006. But this trip was more than a homecoming; it was a deeply symbolic gesture, celebrating the legacy of Kruba Srivichai, whose monumental efforts in the early 20th century transformed northern Thailand’s landscape.

Thaksin’s return was a spectacle in itself, commencing with a luxurious private jet and unfolding over three days filled with cultural homage, political engagements, and the promise of development. His parole release last month added an intriguing chapter to his storied life, bringing him back into the limelight after years of exile and legal battles. The narrative of redemption was vivid, as Thaksin stepped onto Thai soil, a man who had once faced the prospect of years in prison, now free to embark on a mission of remembrance and renewal.

As he prepared for a merit-making ceremony, honoring his ancestors in a deeply personal tribute, Thaksin was not just the former prime minister or a high-profile figure re-entering the public sphere; he was a son of Chiang Mai, paying homage to his roots and the illustrious figures like Kruba Srivichai, who have left an indelible mark on the region.

Thaksin’s narrative is one punctuated by contrasts: from leadership to exile, from absolution to renewal. As he walked the sacred grounds of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, his story intertwined with the rich tapestry of Thai history and culture, leaving onlookers and the nation to ponder the enduring legacy of its leaders and the unbreakable bonds that tie them to their homeland.


  1. ThaiPatriot March 15, 2024

    Thaksin’s return is nothing short of historical! It’s heartwarming to see him back where he belongs, in Chiang Mai, among his supporters. This man has always had the nation’s progress at heart, and it’s time he’s recognized for that.

    • BangkokSkeptic March 15, 2024

      Historical? More like controversial. Thaksin’s term was riddled with accusations of corruption and misuse of power. His return is just a political stunt to regain sympathy and leverage in Thai politics.

      • ThaiPatriot March 15, 2024

        Every leader has their flaws, but focusing only on the past mistakes doesn’t help us move forward. It’s about looking at what he can bring to the table now. Besides, isn’t redemption a beautiful thing?

      • TrueBlue March 15, 2024

        I agree with BangkokSkeptic. We should not forget how his term ended and the reasons behind it. His return could destabilize the current political landscape.

    • LannaHeart March 15, 2024

      Seeing him pay respects to Kruba Srivichai and showing his cultural roots is a powerful statement. It reminds us of his deep connection to Chiang Mai and its heritage.

  2. HistoryBuff March 15, 2024

    The homage to Kruba Srivichai is a smart political move. It positions Thaksin as not just a political figure but also a cultural icon who respects and understands the significance of Lanna’s history and spiritual leaders.

    • CynicalViewer March 15, 2024

      Smart but manipulative. It’s all a part of the game to lure in votes and support using cultural symbols. Politicians have done this time and again, Thaksin is no different.

      • LannaHeart March 15, 2024

        Perhaps, but isn’t that what all politicians do? At least he’s showing a genuine interest in our culture and history, which is more than what some do.

  3. ModernThinker March 15, 2024

    It’s fascinating to see Thaksin’s story as a reflection of Thai politics as a whole. His journey from power to exile and now back to a form of political engagement is like watching a living history book. It raises questions about forgiveness, legacy, and leadership in the modern world.

  4. GlobalWatcher March 15, 2024

    Thaksin’s return and the grand reception he received demonstrates the complicated relationship between politics and public sentiment. This scenario is not unique to Thailand; it’s a global phenomenon where former leaders, despite their flaws, maintain a loyal base.

    • RealistRaj March 15, 2024

      That’s a key point. It’s a testament to Thaksin’s charisma and the deep roots his family has in Thai politics. Whether one supports him or not, his impact is undeniable.

      • GlobalWatcher March 15, 2024

        Exactly. And with his daughter leading the Pheu Thai Party, it appears the Shinawatra influence in Thai politics is set to continue. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming years.

  5. StartupSam March 15, 2024

    Let’s not overlook the development project in Doi Suthep he discussed. If Thaksin supports it, this could mean significant economic growth and job opportunities for the region. It’s an aspect worth considering amidst all the political drama.

    • EcoWarrior March 15, 2024

      While economic growth is important, I hope these developments do not come at the expense of the environment or local cultures. Doi Suthep is a beautiful area that should be preserved, not exploited for financial gain.

      • DevelopmentDove March 15, 2024

        There’s always a balance to be struck between development and conservation. It’s crucial that any project, especially in such a culturally and environmentally sensitive area, takes both into account.

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